In a nutshell

UK's largest theme park in the UK with more than 40 rides and attractions including the dedicated theme park for toddlers and younger children, CBeebies Land

What we tested

  • Fun for kids
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
  • Fun for parents
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Worth the money
    A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
  • Facilities
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Family friendliness
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
Overall Rating
A star rating of 4.1 out of 5.


  • CBeebies and The World of David Walliams themed areas for younger kids, huge range of rides and attractions for all ages


  • High ticket and food prices, long queues during school holidays, fasttrack tickets are pricey and cannot be used in CBeebies Land or The World of David Walliams

Visited by:

Laura is an editor and mum of two. She visited Alton Towers in Staffordshire with her husband and their six-year-old and three-year-old sons on a quiet, sunny Sunday during a bank holiday weekend at the beginning of May.

Journalist and mum-of-one Amy Burns also visited Alton Towers for our review, joined by her own four-year-old daughter and a close friend and her six-year-old daughter. They visited on a busy, sunny day in August at the height of the summer holidays.

Family at Alton Towers

When we visited:

Laura visited with her husband and sons Odhran, 6, and Reuben, 3 (nearly 4), on a Sunday during a bank holiday weekend at the beginning of May. It was remarkably quiet, and a member of staff told them that Sundays and Mondays of bank holiday weekends tend to be quieter than Saturdays.

What age is Alton Towers best for?

Best for: All, as there's a range of areas for different ages

Slide at Alton Towers

Avoid: at peak times if you have very young children who won't understand the concept of queuing for prolonged periods.

For more theme park fun, take a look at our roundup of the best theme parks in the UK.

Is CBeebies Land separate to Alton Towers?

CBeebies Land is one of 12 themed areas within the Alton Towers Resort. The resort has more than 40 rides and attractions in total, and your tickets include access for all. However, there are other attractions on site, such as the Alton Towers Waterpark, which you need to buy separate tickets for.

CBeebies Land at Alton Towers

How much does Alton Towers cost in 2022?

On-the-day prices cost an extortionate £65 per person, including anyone aged 3 or over. This means a family of four could be spending £260 on park entry alone. So, it’s cost effective to purchase tickets online in advance. This will cost you upwards of £36 per person.

Are there are discounts or cheap tickets available for Alton Towers?

There are multiple promotional offers available if you do your research ahead of time.

  • Through Sun Savers vouchers you can get two free tickets for a family day out. The offer for this year has now ended. But you’ll find a free adult ticket when you buy a full ‘On the Day’ priced ticket on promotional packs of Kellogg’s cereals. And some chocolate and sweet companies offer two for one tickets to Merlin attractions (Merlin is the group that owns Alton Towers).
  • Depending on where you work, it might be worth checking your rewards portal in case they offer discounted tickets. Look out for money-saving offers on the Alton Tower’s website too – such as £10 extra for a two-day ticket (you can easily spend two days here and still not get round everything) or off-peak parent and toddler tickets from £25.
  • If you're visiting with an under-5 on selected off-peak dates (not weekends or school holidays) you can pick up a Parent & Toddler Pass for £25, and add an additional toddler for £5.
  • For families who think they will visit more than once or who might visit other Merlin attractions, such as Sea Life Centres, Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland, Legoland Discover Centres or Warwick Castle, you could consider investing in a Merlin Annual Pass, visit their website here for further details.
  • Check Attractiontix or Picniq for special deals.

Save up to 20% on hotel stays, food and drink and get free car parking with a Gold Merlin Annual Pass 

If you plan to visit Alton Towers more than once a year, it’s worth considering getting a Gold Merlin Annual Pass. With up to 20% off hotel stays, food and drinks, free car parking and a load of extra perks and discounts, it’s an excellent choice for families visiting Alton Towers multiple times a year.

Are there any extra charges once I'm there?

Parking: Standard and blue badge parking is charged at £6 per car and is essentially unavoidable. The site is very difficult to reach by public transport and is so huge there is nowhere else in the vicinity that you could park and still be able to walk to it from. As it is, the theme park is a good 15-minute walk from the car park, but you can also catch the monorail, which will take you from the car park to the park entrance. You can pay more (£18) for express parking, which is a two-to-three-minute walk from the entrance. Express parking costs £12 for Gold, Platinum, or Premium Merlin Passholders who’ve pre-booked.

Food: There is a great picnic area so you could save by bringing a packed lunch, but if you prefer to buy lunch there it's not cheap, and it's hard to avoid spending extra on snacks and drinks. Reviewer Amy says: “We took a picnic, but you’ll be hard pushed to make it through the day without buying some sort of treat – whether that’s an ice cream, a slushy drink or a donut – and you can expect to pay over the odds for these.”

Extras: We managed to avoid these additional costs on this visit. But there are lots of gift shops, coin operating games, try your luck stalls, and face painting stations scattered around the theme park, which can make a dent in your budget.

How long will we spend at Alton Towers?

Alton Towers is huge – at 370 hectares (or 3.7km²),10 themed areas. It’s the largest theme park in the UK – so you could easily spend two or three days exploring the whole site if you have the time (and the money to stay in one of their themed on-site hotels). The opening times are 10am-4pm on weekdays and 10am-5pm on weekends. But from end of July to end of August closing time is 6pm. We were very lucky to visit on a quiet day. But even then, it wasn’t near enough time.

We could have spent hours at CBeebies Land alone. My boys were reluctant to leave Justin’s house Pie-O-Matic Factory and Hey Duggee’s Big Adventure Badge. They were disappointed we didn’t have enough time at the end of the day to return to Andy’s Adventures Dinosaur Dig. Likewise, we rushed them through JoJo & Gran Gran At Home - an imaginative play area where they could have spent more time.

Hey Duggee at Alton Towers

What is Alton Towers like for families?

As the UK’s largest theme park, Alton Towers has a reputation as one of the best with some of the biggest, most extreme rides and rollercoasters. But it’s also widely known among parents of pre-schoolers as the home of CBeebies Land and for older children as the home of The World of David Walliams.

It’s such a big, well-known destination that it’s always going to be busy here and it’s never going to be cheap. But it’s worth it for a special day out or weekend away.

Alton Towers is an unforgettable experience for children and is filled with fun.

Is Alton Towers suitable to visit in all weather conditions?

Amy visited on a sunny day and says the majority of the attractions – or the queues for them at least – are outdoors, so warmer weather is obviously preferable. However, she adds: “The nicer the weather the busier the park so it’s a bit of a toss-up. Older children might not mind layering up or donning a poncho if it means they can get on more rides. But younger children will struggle to spend hours outside on a cold or wet day.”

Does Alton Towers cater well for different aged children?

The wonderful things about Alton Towers is it’s suitable for all age groups. A child really needs to be 0.9m tall or over to make it truly worthwhile. But if you are taking a very young child with an older sibling, there are still plenty of attractions for them to enjoy. However, it might be a difficult day out for families with a real mix of ages/heights as the rides all have different restrictions, so try to visit with at least one other adult so you can split up the group if needed.

Pre-school children: I say pre-school children but both my three-year-old and my six-year-old love CBeebies Land. There are 14 rides and attractions, and children get the chance to meet some of their favourite characters. My boys enjoyed having their picture taken with Duggee. This year, the three new attractions include Hey Duggee’s Big Adventure Badge, Andy’s Adventures Dinosaur Dig and JoJo & Gran Gran at home. Duggee’s Big Adventure Badge is a playground with slides, tunnels, and trampolines. My boys could have spent an hour in there alone. I had to drag them away, so we had time to go on plenty of rides. These new additions are great for very young children as some of the rides in CBeebies Land have a 0.9m minimum height.

School-age children: The World of David Walliams bridges the gap between pre-school rides and teenage thrill rides. On our visit, there were technical issues with the Gangsta Granny: The Ride and it was closed temporarily. But on a previous visit, we queued for about 45 minutes to go on this ride. This time, the longest we queued for a ride in The World of David Walliams was about 25 minutes to go on Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango (a storybook take on the classic Twist spinning ride). I took my six-year-old on this ride, while my husband took our three-year-old (just over 1m tall) on the carousel. My three-year-old’s favourite ride at Alton Towers was Raj’s Bouncy Bottom Burp (minimum height 0.9m. 0.9m- 1.1m must ride with an adult).

Teenagers/adults: Alton Towers has seven big thrill rides, but the queues can be very long. My husband and I took turns to ride on Oblivion (Alton Towers with kids requires a divide and conquer approach to make the most of as many attractions as possible). Fasttrack tickets are available but if you’re buying one for every member of your group then it’ll really bump up the overall price of your day out. For example, the Fasttrack Gold costs £65 per person. This applies to 12 rides, including the seven big thrill rides, allowing you to fasttrack on each of these rides once.

Can younger children go on the thrill rides at Alton Towers?

For most of the thrill rides you need to be 1.4m tall. But younger thrill seekers can ride on TH13TEEN and Wicker Man, which have a minimum 1.2m height restriction. My six-year-old was brave enough to go on Wicker Man with me and claimed it was ‘the best ride ever!’ Spread across the theme park there are more adventurous rides for young children. Our family favourite is the Runaway Mine train. It has a minimum height restriction of 0.9m and children 0.9m to 1.1m must ride with an adult. But this ride is popular, so expect a long queue. Battle Galleons in Mutiny Bay is great fun. So long, as you remember to bring a poncho or a change of clothes for little ones. And my three-year-old loved the Heave Ho so much he went on twice.

What are the best rides at CBeebies Land for families?

CBeebies Land is the real pull for younger families, and it’s quite close to the entrance. There is also a well-placed Costa just outside the CBeebies Land entrance for parents who need to refuel. Our highlights were:

  • The Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure is great for scanning the park from above, and the Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure is the most thrilling of the rides in CBeebies Land. But these tend to attract large queues
  • The Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride is another fun ride for children over 0.9m tall
  • The Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure, Ray’s Bouncy Bottom Burp, Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango and Runaway Mine Train were the top attractions for my three and six-year-old
  • And don’t forget the Sharkbait Reef by Sea Life, where your child can touch a starfish, and view lots of sea creatures. This is suitable for all ages
Runaway Mine Train at Alton Towers

Are there any scary/boring elements that young or sensitive children might not enjoy?

My three-year-old loves Halloween and enjoys quite scary stuff. So, I thought he’d enjoy Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back. This is where you battle ghosts and ghouls with laser guns. But he came off the ride in tears, and my six-year-old found it frightening too.

What rides does Alton Towers offer for older children?

If your child is 0.9m or above, there are so many other great rides for them to enjoy throughout the park. So, be sure to check the maps and attraction list around the park, or check Alton Tower’s website in advance to draw up a hit list of rides suitable for your child.

If you have kids who are thrill-seekers, Alton Towers has lots on offer to wow them. With some of the hottest rides in the country, the term ‘hold on tight’ certainly springs to mind.

  • Galactica is a rollercoaster with cutting edge virtual reality, riders strap on VR headsets and follow a space adventure in front of their eyes.
  • Thirteen has a steep drop that throws you into blacked-out tunnels, not only will you be screaming at what you can’t see, but also at the unexpected movements of the coaster carriage.
  • Nemesis takes you into the terror lurking in the Forbidden Valley. We don’t want to give too much away about this famous ride, but keep in mind the film Alien when you’re boarding. Float, swoop, soar and dive like Superman on the Air rollercoaster and, if you’re really brave, stick your arms out for a cool, comical photo.
  • If your family likes heights, then Oblivion is the ride for you all. After climbing 60 metres, you’re held at the peek of a colossal vertical drop where you’re advised not to look down. But the minute curiosity gets the better of you and you open your peepers, you’re plunged down into a steam-filled tunnel. A scary, but thrilling experience!
  • Finally, hold onto your eyeballs as you’re catapulted from 0 to 100kmph in 2.5 seconds on Rita the Queen of Speed. The sound alone as she pulls off is enough to make your teeth chatter. Before you jump on, make sure your kids don’t have anything too valuable in their pockets. There are lockers available at the ride if you need to stash anything away beforehand, phew!

What to bring:

Try to pack light where you can as you will be carrying your stuff around with you all day and standing in long queues with it. That said, you’ll want to keep costs down so bring snacks and water/drinks. If it’s sunny, you’ll need sun cream too. You might also want a poncho or raincoat in case it downpours. If you’re planning to go on Battle Galleons, then a change of clothes is advisable as you will get drenched.

What are the queues like?

Really mixed depending on the date and the time of day. During busy times – such as school holidays or weekends – queues are long even in CBeebies Land which is hard for some pre-schoolers to cope with. So, try to avoid peak times if at all possible. It can be hard to duck in and out of queues if anyone needs the toilet or a nappy change and you can’t queue up with a pushchair for most rides – it has to be left in one of the designated buggy parks.

  • Expect to wait more than an hour for some of the “big ticket” rides and during peak times even the Postman Pat ride or Octonauts Rollercoster could be a 45-minute wait
  • We were lucky we didn’t have to wait long for any rides in CBeebies Land ­ the longest we waited was for the Postman Pat Parcel Post ride. But there are some little games, puzzles and video clips dotted around the longer queues to keep little ones occupied and distract them from the waiting time
  • We found queue times displayed outside the rides were often longer than the actual wait time. Fellow reviewer Amy agrees, saying: “while Peter Rabbit’s Hippety Hop suggested it was a 40 minute queue, I doubt we waited 20. The longest we waited was for the Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure – around one hour – which was about as much as my four-year-old could manage. She loved the ride but was also desperate for the toilet by the time we got off!”
  • Fastrack passes range in price from £30 to a whopping £105 per person (not including admission) but these are aimed at people using the bigger, thrill-seeker rides so won’t be appropriate for most families.

What to watch out for

The key to visiting Alton Towers is to plan in advance. This was our second family trip to Alton Towers, so we’d learnt from previous mistakes.

  • This time we were at the entrance as soon as the park opened and headed straight to CBeebies Land, where we queued for the Octonauts Rollercoaster as this is a popular ride. We were on and off the ride before a large queue formed and managed to squeeze in another couple of popular rides at CBeebies Land before the crowds arrived.
  • After making the most of CBeebies Land we headed straight for The World of David Walliams where we separated and my husband took our youngest on a couple of rides while I queued for a ride with our eldest. After this part of the park, we headed straight for other keys attractions on our list, such as Runaway Train.
  • If you’re eating lunch from a kiosk or a restaurant in the park you might want to consider eating a little earlier or later to avoid wasting time in the lunch hour queue.
  • If you’re visiting with children of different ages, it’s worthwhile sitting down in advance and looking at the website to pick out the main rides they want to go on. Then you can plan your day around this. If you arrive and wander around without a plan, you might end up disappointed and feel like you didn’t get the most out of your visit.
  • Also, if you download the app on the day you visit this will give you live queue times for the rides and tell you how to get from one attraction to the next, saving you time. And unless there are huge queues, use the Skyride to enjoy a view of the grounds around Alton Towers and save time getting from one end of the park to the other.

What are the food and drink facilities like?

Plentiful but pricey. There is a great range of facilities – from the sit-down Rollercoaster Restaurant in the Forbidden Valley to a selection kiosks, cafes and shops. As is usually with theme parks, it wasn’t easy to find a healthy bite to eat and the options were mostly chips, pizza, burgers and hotdogs. Snacks were overpriced with a Twister Ice-lolly costing £2.40 and a Cornetto costing £2.80. A bottle of water or soft drink cost £2.70. Costa Coffee is available on site, but again, the prices were higher than what you’d pay at a standard outlet.

We bought lunch at the Alton Towers. There was a queue at the pizza and pasta restaurant, and we didn’t want to waste time we could spend enjoying the rides. So, we bought food from the kiosks around the park. Two hot dogs, a portion of chips and a chicken tikka wrap cost between £25-£30. We also spent more than £10 on two ice-creams and two ice-pops, and a further £5 on pick’n’mix sweets (some rides make you exit through a gift store and I ended up giving into the kids’ request for sweeties).

Food at Alton Towers

Can we take a picnic to Alton Towers?

Yes, there is a picnic area, definitely worth considering in the summer months where there’s entertainment on stage with live singers and dancing.

What are the toilets like?

Every time we needed the toilet there seemed to be one nearby. So, I was never caught out running around with a child in my arms trying to urgently find a loo. They were plentiful around the park, and we never had to queue. The toilets were clean, and I noticed lots of baby changing facilities. But this was a quiet day so it’s difficult to judge if the baby change facilities would be sufficient during particularly busy times.

How accessible is Alton Towers?

The site is very flat. So, accessibility is not an issue and accessible, step-free routes are well sign posted. However, pushchairs aren’t allowed in most of the ride queues. So, you do need to leave them in designated buggy parks – meaning you are holding your baby/toddler for some potentially long periods of time.

  • For wheelchair users, there are designated access points on most rides and Alton Towers offers a Ride Access Pass to guests who may find it difficult to stand for long periods of time that allows them to join a “virtual” queue then arrive at the ride at a fixed time. Disabled visitors can also bring a carer for free.
  • Disabled toilets (RADAR key required, available to loan on the day) are found throughout the park and a designated Changing Places facility can be found in the X-Sector zone.
  • Guide dogs are welcome but cannot go on any of the rides so must be left at the access points.
  • In CBeebies Land, Mr Tumble’s Something Special Sensory Garden is a great quiet space for children who may be overwhelmed by crowds, noise or just all the excitement of the day.

Is it worth a long car journey?

Absolutely – it’s one of the top attractions in the UK and such a memorable experience for children. We’ve twice made the trip up from London and will definitely be returning. It’s a hefty schlep, so on both occasions we’ve stayed overnight at a nearby hotel. With entry tickets, petrol, and accommodation costs it’s an expensive trip. But it’s worth it for a one-off experience, special occasion or birthday treat.

Opening dates and times

Alton Towers Theme Park is open from March until November every year. Check the Alton Towers website for the latest opening times.

How to get to Alton Towers:

Alton Towers is located in rural Staffordshire and is still easily accessibly by a number of options:

  • If you're visiting by car, you should put the postcode ST10 4DB into your satnav. The resort is well signposted and is located between the M1 and M6.
  • The nearest train station to Alton Towers is Uttoxeter which is a 30 minute bus ride from the resort. You can find train tickets on
  • Alton Towers is accessible by a number of bus routes including the X41 and 32X operated by D&G, and the X52 operated by Notts & Derby buses. Find more information here.

Which hotels or holiday accommodations are near Alton Towers?

Nearby attractions:

There is plenty to see and do at Alton Towers, as well as the Theme Park the Resort has many other attractions on site including the Alton Towers Waterpark, Alton Towers Dungeon and Extraordinary Golf crazy golf course. If you're planning on staying in the area, you can visit the lovely Dimmingsdale for a forest walk, or the Peak Wildlife Park, both of which are less than a 15 minute drive from Alton Towers.

Splash Landings Waterpark

MFM verdict:

We had a whale of a time at Alton Towers, though I appreciate we were very lucky to be there on a day when it seemed unusually quiet and we didn’t have to face long queues. My six-year-old was growing restless when we did have to queue for one ride for about 25 minutes. So, if we had faced long queues on the day, it would have been a completely different experience.

If you walk from the main car park, little legs can be exhausted by the time you reach the park entrance, and there can be queues for the monorail. So, if you can afford it, express parking might be worth it. Though at £18 this is incredibly expensive.

The top tip for visiting Alton Towers is to be organised and plan in advance. Look out for deals and special promotions to ensure you’re getting the best price on entry tickets. Avoid buying on the gate.

Factor in the distance from the car park to the park entrance and aim to get there as soon as it opens. Plan in advance which rides you really want to go on so you can plan your route around the park and avoid wasting time wandering around aimlessly. Bring plenty of drinks and snacks to avoid spending lots of money and to keep little ones occupied while queueing for rides.

Visit the Alton Towers website.


See more reviews of Alton Towers on TripAdvisor.